On May 24, 2018, heritage consultants Coherit Associates and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This signing initiated the third phase of the project “Expanding the Socio-Economic Potential of Cultural Heritage in the Caribbean” from June 1. It also made possible the continuance of The Caribbean Heritage Network (CHN), one of the several projects in the region dedicated to developing national and regional heritage management.
This new phase entitled “Enhancing the Framework for the Development of a Heritage Economy in the Caribbean” is largely a continuation of Phase 2, extending the capacity building to additional beneficiary countries.
The stated purpose of Phase 3 is "to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of participating Member States, with local and community participation, in promoting their Cultural Heritage as a viable economic resource". Therefore, using the models and Implementation Guides produced in Phase 2, Phase 3 is being implemented in collaboration with Cultural and Tourism Authorities in four (4) additional Member States, viz. Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Lucia. Two components are once again being implemented through the University of the West Indies, one of which is the CHN.
The five (5) components which were implemented in Phase 2 are being further strengthened and implemented as detailed below:
1. The institutional capacity of the CHN, which is hosted by the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, is being strengthened and further developed for its use as a medium through which Heritage professionals, communities, and organizations both regionally and internationally, can support each other by combining and utilizing their particular skills and resources in complementary ways, and as a tool for the promotion and marketing of Heritage resources.
2. The capacity of Barbados and Jamaica are being strenghtened to promote their Heritage places as an economic resource through the introduction of an efficient documentation system. This system will equip these countries to know the location of their Heritage places and have full historical information on them. This is being carried out through using ARCHES, an open-source geospatially-enabled software platform for Cultural Heritage inventory and management, developed by the World Monuments Fund and the Getty Conservation Institute, as well as training in good practices in the marketing and promotion of the Heritage places.
3. The capacity of Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Lucia for Sustainable Heritage Tourism are being improved. Their existing tourism products are being enhanced through the development of authentic Heritage Tourism products and services that are capable of supporting income earning and other economic potentials in the sector.
4. Heritage Education curricula is being enhanced through the provision of two online courses in Heritage by The Open Campus of the University of The West Indies. These courses are expected to fill existing gaps in Heritage education curricula in the region and to build regional capacity in the management and marketing of Heritage.
5. A promotion effort to increase awareness among regional Cultural Authorities of the need to protect the region's Cultural Heritage and of the essential components of effective Heritage protection legislation is also being undertaken in this phase.
Consultants with Coherit Associates facilitated a series of capacity building workshops organised by host governments in the beneficiary countries aimed at actualising the project components. In August and December 2018, three-day workshops were held in Barbados and Jamaica for participants to build skills in establishing or improving existing inventories, especially through community engagement. The workshops aimed to equip the countries to expand their range of Heritage offerings and more effectively monitor their preservation. Also in August, a three-day workshop was held in Guyana on undertaking a Baseline Assessment. In January and February 2019, workshops were held in Guyana, Jamaica and St. Lucia that were focused on techniques of community heritage and elicitation techniques.
The UWI Open Campus is expected to launch the two new Heritage studies courses in the new academic year that begins in September 2019. The project is working with the Consultants to develop the course content, assist in selecting Subject Matter Experts, and providing peer review for course outlines and materials.
Under Phase 2 of the project, a legislation task force, composed of international and regional Heritage policy experts, developed “A Regional Standard for Protective Heritage Legislation” in June 2017, which detailed 14 specific elements of an ideal legislative framework with special consideration to regional contexts. This publication is freely available to members of the Legislative Interest Group on the CHN (www.caribheritage.org). The legislation task force also completed an exhaustive comparative analysis of existing Heritage legislation in participating countries and in Phase 3 a workshop will be organised for regional Cultural and Legislative Authorities where the recommendations of Phase II legal task force can be presented.
The CHN is committed to continuing its work with the OAS and Coherit Associates to help build on the foundations of the original project concept. We will look forward to their continued guidance and building a network of experienced heritage practitioners in the region.